We are the people of River Plantation who laid the contents of our homes curbside, the stench of mold rising in our condo-maze complex turned war zone.
We are the working class folk of another Bellevue neighborhood who gutted our homes one week after torrential rains dumped 14 inches in 36 hours on Nashville. Home after home. The doors ripped off, the light shining in from the back windows, as seen through the naked front windows.
We are the dentist who lost hundreds of thousands–a career-worth of equipment in a flooded office.
We are the husband-and-wife artists who lost our newly furnished home and two cars, one of them new.
We are families whose children with autism desperately crave routine and whose lives have cruelly been dumped upside down.
We are the former magazine publisher who lost our new car and contents of our creekside condo.
We are the artist who lost a lifetime of art-making and collecting in their downtown studio a block from the raging Cumberland River.
We are the former church secretary who waited in her attic from 10 to 3 hoping for rescue while her husband kept watch on the porch, eventually chest deep in water.
We are the families of children with Down syndrome who are rebuilding our flooded home and need a place to stay.
We are the hotel employees who wait anxiously, payless, eager to return to work so that we can feed our families.
We are the homeless who had nothing but a tent beneath a bridge before and now has nothing left of that nothing.
We are the chiropractor whose creekside office flooded two decades worth of equipment.
We are the talented musicians who lost our sound equipment, precious instruments and entire studios.
We are the Nashville Symphony and Country Music Hall of Fame whose damages we are still accessing.
We are the recent cancer survivor who “lived a nightmare,” attempting to swim to her elderly bed-ridden mother who was finally rescued by firefighters.
We are the adult with autism who lost our entire apartment and all our early possessions save a high school yearbook and two special photographs.
We are the young 20something who motored a boat and pulled people from second-floor windows to safety.
We are the young 20something’s mother who runs a neighborhood restaurant whose sister restaurant failed a year ago in a bottomed out economy and yet who gave and gave and gave to her community taking free bag lunches street to street amid the devastation.
We are the 12,000-plus Hands On Nashville volunteers who signed up within three day’s of the 1000-year flood to help those in desperate need.
We are the college students, the legions of strangers, the church groups, one 3,000 strong, who showed up to help people they did not know salvage any remains of their existence.
We are the policemen and women, the electrical workers, the clean up crews who leave our homes early in the morning and return home late and dog-tired, only to go back out and help again tomorrow.
We are a hurting city whom a pious national media largely ignored for way too long.
We are a proud city who has been broken in many places, who is sifting through layers and layers of our damage and grief.
We are a healing city with an indefatigable spirit who is and will continue to grow strong in our broken places.
We are drying off and drying out. We have years of recovery from more than 1.5 billion dollars in sustained destruction. Yet, we are rising. Yes, we are rising. We are rising because:
WE ARE NASHVILLE!
*These are all people whom I know and/or devastation I saw with my own eyes. As we peel back and go deeper into the layers of grief and devastation within our city, I learn each day of more and more people within my sphere who were affected. Last week I drove the streets of two of the worst-hit subdivisions in my badly affected part of town, and gave what I could–spare boxes, extra mops, cleaning supplies–to people so humbly grateful and into whose eyes I peered, not knowing their name but sharing their very real tears. Everything thing that I have described above has been experienced and repeated thousands of times over by people all over our beautiful city. We Are Nashville and we need you. Please continue to remember us and keep us in your prayers. If so led, there are many ways you can give financially, one reputable avenue is the trusted Nashville Red Cross.Thank you.
**Photography: Tamara Reynolds Photography, www.tamarareynoldsphotography.com